The Clandestine Building of Libya's Chemical Weapons Factory: A Study in International Collusion

By Thomas C. Wiegele | Go to book overview

9
Deception, Lies, and Secrecy in an Act of Proliferation

The previous chapters spell out the intricacies of the activities Libya pursued over a number of years to acquire a chemical weapons production facility. A major element of those activities involved strategies of secrecy and deception. This chapter explores the concepts of deception, lies, and secrecy, as a prelude to an examination of military deception. With this as a foundation, the chapter moves on to discuss specific elements of the deception practiced by Libya and West Germany. Corporate deception is examined in the case of Imhausen-Chemie. I conclude the chapter with a reflection on the usefulness of deception, lies, and secrecy, as they relate to the proliferation of chemical weapons.


Machiavelli and Deception

Historically, relations among nations have seldom been characterized as open, forthright, or wholly sincere. Twentieth-century international relations is most certainly no exception to this general rule. The world community has witnessed and continues to witness numerous acts of calculated deception. The Rabta chemical weapons factory is not an isolated case in this regard.

It deserves mentioning that deception is hardly a recent phenomenon. Niccolo Machiavelli, who lived from 1469 to 1527, wrote eloquently about deception in chapter 28 of his classic The Prince. That chapter, entitled "How a Prince Should Keep His Word," begins with the following reflection:

How praiseworthy it is for a prince to keep his word and to live by integrity and not by deceit everyone knows; nevertheless, one sees from the experience of our times that the princes who have accomplished great deeds are those who have cared little for keeping their promises and who have known how to manipulate the minds

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